BYOB is no longer just for people looking to add to their dinner menus.
At the end of the month, Oakmont Martial Arts will host a Bring Your Own Broadsword clinic designed to focus on the broadsword form. The clinic came about because some of Mr. Dreskler’s students from the Greensburg ATA school wanted to learn the form. But the instructors at Greensburg ATA don’t teach that form. Since OMA focuses on all forms, they were happy to host the clinic.
In addition to learning the broadsword form, the clinic will feature something else: one of OMA’s up and coming instructors, second-degree Black Belt Emily Davidheiser. Emily, one of the junior leadership students, was asked to assist with instruction for the clinic.
Although Emily initially competed with the mid-range jahng-bong (bo staff), she switched to broadsword and has been working hard at it. “Mr. Weston and Ms. Graff told me that my broadsword form was better than my bo staff form,” Emily said. “I decided to try it in competition. I liked it, and was doing a lot better so I stuck with it. I’ve come a long way since then.”
Emily’s mother, Amy, said the switch wasn’t easy. “Her trust in them, and the confidence they have helped her develop, was enough for her to overcome a very strong, innate fear of change to make the switch,” Amy said. “It was a little discouraging at first, because she didn’t initially score as well as she’d hoped, but she’s continued to work with it and her perseverance is beginning to show results.”
It was because of that perseverance that Mr. Weston invited Emily to help with the clinic. It’s an opportunity that is both exciting and a little nerve-wracking. “I find it exciting that Mr. Weston thought of me to help him with it. I love the idea of helping to run it, and am hoping it will help me polish the form even more,” Emily said. “I’ve never actually taught more than one person at a time when helping in classes, and I’ve only worked with them on forms. I think it will be a great learning experience.”
According to Amy, taekwondo in general – and leadership in particular – have really brought about a change in Emily. And definitely a change for the better. “I cannot overstate the growth we have seen in Emily in these past few years,” Amy said. “As a younger child, Emily was often too shy to speak to people other than her closest family. She walked with her head down and her hair covering her face. Earlier this week, the same girl who used to be afraid to ask a waitress for a glass of water stood in front of high school boarding students and faculty/staff families totaling nearly a hundred people and confidently explained her participation in Mr. Corsaro’s holiday card project, inviting everyone to make a card to be delivered to the VA hospital by her and her fellow leadership students.”
It’s not only Amy who’s seen a change. Her teachers have seen it, too. While success at schoolwork has generally come easy to Emily, she had little interest in things that were challenging and little patience with people who struggled more than she did. All that changed as she progressed through the ranks and honed her leadership skills at OMA.
“I am so impressed with Emily’s leadership and nurturing skills. She is excellent at taking charge and leading a group, has nurtured a student who was frustrated and having a bad day, and just last period helped me by showing other students a process that she had already completed when I was busy with others,” said her art teacher, Leslie Bodnarchuk at Shady Side Academy middle school.
As for the future? “She’s all about the red collar!” Amy said. But not just the red collar. “Long term I want to be an instructor,” said Emily.
The BYOB clinic will be held on December 29 from 2:00pm to 4:30pm. There is no cost and four slots are available for OMA students. If interested, please see Mr. Weston or Ms. Graff at the front desk.
A software technical writer by day, Mary Sutton is the mother of two teens and has been making her living with words for over ten years. She is the author of the Hero’s Sword middle-grade fantasy series, writing as M.E. Sutton, and The Laurel Highlands Mysteries police-procedural series, writing as Liz Milliron. Visit her online at www.marysuttonauthor.com.
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